The Zone’s Teen Art & Literary Magazine
Artwork by Kaylynn Jayme, 14
Guest Teen Editor
Sarah Dohrmann Creative Writing Specialist from Teachers & Writers Collaborative
Thanks to Russell Mindich and family, and to the staff of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital
Diane Rode, Director Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department Asari Beale, Executive Director Teachers & Writers Collaborative
Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital 1184 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029 212-241-6797 mountsinai.org/childlife
Founding Editor Russell Mindich
Teachers & Writers Collaborative
540 President Street, 3rd floor Brooklyn, NY 11215 212-691-6590 twc.org
Christina Auriemma Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator Jaclyn Craig Facility Dog Coordinator and Creative Arts Therapist
*Publication template by Melissa Alvey, former Art Therapy Intern
Social Media Producers Lu Borges Patient Technology & Media Coordinator and KidZone TV Production Supervisor Mathea Jacobs KidZone TV Manager and Child Life Video Producer
Interested in contributing to our next issue of REFLECTIONS?
Send creative writing, art, and audio submissions to Christina Auriemma, our Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to check out the multimedia files featured in this issue! Throughout this issue you’ll hear contributors read their poetry and play music. You can also view more artwork!
How? There are 3 ways! 1. Use your smart phone’s camera to scan the QR codes featured on a page. 2. Download any QR code reading app and scan the QR codesby using your phone’s camera. 3. Search the links in any internet browser. Scan here to view the entire issue online and to view past issues!
Scan this QR code to explore this issue’s entire multimedia playlist!
bit.ly/reflections-playlist 1 1
Table of Contents Cover art by Kaylynn Jayme
13 Art response by Angela Lopez
REFLECTIONS Winter 2021 multimedia playlist
Table of Contents
Letter from Christina and Jaclyn, Art Directors
14 Artwork Slideshow by Julia Kostin: QR Code
Letter from Savannah, Guest Teen Editor
15 Artwork by Lauren BurkesMoore
14 “Hope Springs Eternal” by Julia Kostin
5 Jasmine sings protest songs in KZTV Studio: QR code
16 “Diversity and Inclusion in the Media” by Thalya Onelien
Artwork by Kaylynn Jayme
16 Artwork by Nyasia Caraballo
“We Stand” by Sophie Liebeck
“Growth” by Eshanie Henry
17 “Diversity and Inclusion in the Media” by Thalya Onelien audio: QR code
Artwork by Julia Cohen
18 “Part 1” writing and artwork by Saniya Nightengale
10 “Immigrants” by Anwita Vedula
19 “Part 2” writing and artwork by Saniya Nightengale
12 Artwork by Angela Lopez
20 “Strange” artwork by Shanniah McKenzie 2
21 “Strange” by Shanniah McKenzie 22 “To Stand Out” by Savannah Wright 23 Artwork by Savannah Wright 24 Saniya’s Q&A with Jeremy Martin 26 Artwork by Anonymous 27 “Power and Fear” by Savannah Wright
34 Artwork by Kimberly Ho
28 “Tuesday“ by Tia Walker
35 Kevin Vasquez Original Music: QR code
29 Photography by Marian Cepeda
36 “We Are Proud” by Jasmeen Kaur
30 Artwork by Kayla Griffith 31 “Paradise” by Edwin Mendez
36 Background artwork by Genesis Lewis
32 “Eyes Up Here” by Jordan Lubinsky
37 “We Are Proud” by Jasmeen Kaur audio: QR code
33 Artwork by Kaylynn Jayme
Back cover art by Fernando Velez 3
Dear Readers, Welcome to the fourth collaborative publication between the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T&W), a New York City literary arts nonprofit that seeks to educate the imagination by offering innovative creative writing programs for young people and adults. REFLECTIONS, previously known as SURGE Magazine, provides an outlet for teens within the Mount Sinai Community, and the community at large to speak their minds, share their thoughts, and bring their visions to life on each page. This publication focuses on the theme of social justice, diversity, and inclusion through the varied perspectives and experiences of our collective community, voices of several Youth Advisory Council members, and pediatric patients. This collection of meaningful, honest, and thoughtful work reflects the lived experiences of our teens and young adults during this time. Thank you to members of the Youth Advisory Council for their continued contributions to the magazine, their time and efforts in renaming this publication, and their involvement in Zoom groups to share their words and experiences with one another. Special thanks to Diane Rode, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Director, and Asari Beale, the Executive Director of T&W, for their continued support and guidance as the partnership between Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and T&W continues! Christina Auriemma and Jaclyn Craig Art Directors
Welcome to the Winter 2021 Edition of REFLECTIONS! REFLECTIONS has several meanings to people, but to me, it means freedom. It has been my home away from home and it has influenced me to be more artistic than ever before. It has allowed me to feel openly inspired and want to gain confidence when presenting my talent. For years, we have dealt with racial injustice in society and still consider it to be a main issue today. My work goes towards the Black Lives Matter Movement because out of all people of color, black people have been given the most mistreatment and I want that to change, even if it is signing petitions or making and publishing your art, because it speaks a story, just like REFLECTIONS. Savannah Wright Guest Teen Editor Listen to Jasmine, Music Therapist, speak on the impact of protest songs in the KZTV studio! bit.ly/reflections-jasmine
We Stand Sophie Liebeck, 15
Artwork by Kaylynn Jayme, 14 6
We stood with you in June And we stand with you now. Some say the fight has ended, But we won’t back down. We will keep on fighting, As long as it takes. We will not stop Until racism is erased. Don’t think we forgot about you, A hundred year fight is important now, too. Close the pay gap and make things equal. Gender discrimination will not live to have a sequel. People come here for a better life, But what they find instead is a country in strife. Some people think that it is okay To put children in cages and lock them away. Too many stories have been told Of parents ripped right out of their homes. Immigrants have the same rights as you and I So leave them be and let them enjoy their lives. We stand with all of you and countless more. The discrimination you face no one should have to endure. We stand next to you with our heads held high, Fists in the air we will win this fight. 7
Growth Eshanie Henry, 21 I used to be a parrot, preoccupied with the words of those around me listening, so as not to forget when came my turn to repeat. Because though a parrot may distract you with the vibrant colors of its wings, its interior does not match. Rather, it only provides a reflection of what has already been said. Now, I am anything but. Now, I am a nightingale. Gone are my pompous feathers, replaced instead by a more common shade of brown. However, I will not be missed. Because in the quiet darkness of the night, I shall regale you with my song, presenting you with a singularity that would not have previously left my lips.
Artwork by Julia Cohen, 19
Immigrants Anwita Vedula, 14 I am an immigrant, But that does not define me. It does not define any of us. I see the looks they give us, The resentful glares and vexed eyes There is no doubt about it We have defiled their country. We mix our blood with the glory of their nation, And they are not happy. They think that dirt runs in our veins, But they could not be more mistaken. They think we have no place to call home, We’re desperate, remnants of a distant country, We are its ashes, people our nation doesn’t want, They think everyone wants to come here
BUT THEY’RE WRONG. We are all below them and this is not where we belong If we can we ought to go back where we came from; They think that our error was in coming here But it was really in believing we’d get a new start. There are wars fought upon us And more often than not we are what the war leaves behind We are its shadows, and even when the war is over, they still sing; A glimpse of what life could have been, And thousands of songs drowned by the din. We are not nothing and we never have been, We are not defined by the country we live in, Our voices have power and so do we, Our voices have power and so do we.
“Rainbow” by Liliana Lopez-Vivar, 12 12
Art Response Angela Lopez, 14
My drawing is about how I felt during my hospital stay. This drawing really doesn’t have a meaning towards it…I just drew whatever came to mind. For example, the colors don’t have meaning, I just thought putting in some colors would be pretty. The eyes in the flowers represent how I was being constantly watched by the Doctors and Nurses. All of them being different colors, meaning different people. At first it was thinking about just drawing flowers but I decided to go crazy and let my mind out. You can also see a butterfly needle on the top left alongside a bottle of pills symbolizing the times they pricked me to draw blood, and the pills being the medicine they gave me. You see that person hiding in the flowers? That’s me, trying to hide from the harsh reality of…well everything I guess. Lol, bandages…ugh I hate bandages they always rip my skin. But that’s pretty much it. Hope you like it!
View more artwork by Julia here!
‘Hope Springs Eternal’ by Julia Kostin, 17 14
Artwork by Lauren Burkes-Moore, 17
Saniya Nightengale, 14
There are two paths in life. Sometimes you don’t know which one you are going to get put on so all you can do is make the best of it, because there is something good at the end of both.
Saniya Nightengale, 14
There are two sides to life. Life moves fast and we have to catch up with it. Someone always told me, if you want to make it, you have to beat life to the fullest.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Media Thalya Onelien, 19
Growing up I didn’t see characters on screen that looked like me or my family. It greatly impacted my self image from a very young age. I thought maybe I didn’t deserve to see someone like me because either there was no one like me, or I just was not good enough. I was born in the early 2000s, when the media felt as if they did enough when there was one side character that was black, that only appeared in shows to carry the plot line of racism. I dealt with the same feelings of insignificance my mother who grew up in the 1980s felt. No matter how hard my mom tried to show me how special I was, everywhere I looked I never saw me.
I dressed as them regardless. My skin tone unfortunately dictates my experience however, it does not dictate my personality. I have had so many stereotypical assumptions thrown at me; when I didn’t fit people’s assumptions of a black girl I was often deemed an anomaly. Or worse applauded. 18
Artwork by Nyasia Caraballo, 20
My friends could look up to disney princesses that have been around since the 90s. I got my first and only disney princess when I was 8. I was told by friends that I couldn’t dress up as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, or even Sharpay from High School Musical. Why couldn’t I be those characters? What was left for me?
My point in talking about my experiences is to call out the image that black people often receive. These stereotypes are very damaging and start at a young age. We have been boxed into one persona through the media for decades. Most of them stemming from racism. With that being said, people who haven’t had much experience with black people think we are only the caricatures they see. This is harmful because black children don’t feel that they can be different or truly be themselves. The media has slowly progressed over the years but there is still so far to go. I look at my cousins watching shows with black leads and it brings me joy. Whether it is live action or animated they get an experience I didn’t receive. Most importantly they are validated with seeing themselves on screen. They watch Doc McStuffins, Hair Love, and Craig of the Creek and see their family. I watch those shows and I see what I would’ve loved as a little girl; well thought out multidimensional characters that differ from one another. (Also not just plot devices!) I am a black girl that loves math, science, music and many other things. Just as I am more than my illness, I am more than my skin. I am much more than you see. Lis ten t o Thaly a read h er writin piece h g ere!
Shanniah McKenzie, 17
Behind my eyes were dark, black and soulless like an oblivion. It was just…empty. No matter how far back I looked behind my eyes, it was the same. The last thing I remember was being in school. My teacher was stressing the importance of studying for her Biology Mock Exam. Of course, I was feeling quite confident as I always, somehow managed to be good at this subject. It came to me like second nature. The weekend passed by like a blur and creeping up was the light of dawn on the faithful Monday morning. I hustled into school on my feet, wide and heavy footsteps. I would have been great on stilts. Circuses would hire me. A quick devotion, then class begun and half a minute through, while my teacher warned, my head became light almost like a helium filled balloon, my eyes watering down on the test before me, everything spinning and then it was dark, black and soulless like I had been banished to a cold, dark and empty cave. It was strange; when I awoke, my eyes stung with tears at the brightness as my eyes protest that I keep them closed. White. The ceilings were white. Lights, bright. Sheets white. Four walls enclosed around me. I was being kept prisoner. A man in form-fitted pants, a plaid button-down dress shirt acknowledged me. He was my doctor, I knew because he was accessorized with a stethoscope. Isn’t it strange how I could have been aware this entire time, yet wake up one day and still don’t understand how I got here in the first place. A normal day can change so fast and seventeen months down the line, you’re like me…It’s scary how fast your life can flash before your eyes, and even scarier when things change. Suddenly the life you knew has morphed so drastically, that you end up fighting a war blind. Being diagnosed for an illness I know nothing about and having to live with it for the rest of my life, is strange. This has become my reality and now that I know this, I long to be free so I can regain all those moments, all those days that I lost behind my eyes that were dark, black and soulless. Whatever journey that you’re travelling will eventually come to an end but just know that things will get better even if it doesn’t revert to the way it was. Soon, and very soon, everything won’t seem so strange anymore. Trust me. 21
To Stand Out Savannah Wright, 18 To stand out, You must be bold. You must be the 1 out of 1 million. My painting is meant to be bold and is meant to symbolize strength with its fist and courage with its bold background. I used only three main colors in this and it was red, orange, and brown. I focused on these colors because they mean something to me; brown to represent my own skin color and the hardships everyone with my skin color must face; red and orange together because it’s almost like a fire in the background, and fire, to most, is a serious matter. I want the color of my skin to be taken just as seriouslyto matter just as much as fire.
Artwork by Savannah Wright, 18
Saniya’s Q&A with
Video and Digital Arts Therapist Saniya: Jeremy, what inspired you to become an art therapist? Jeremy: I started using art making as a form of therapy as an adolescent long before I knew that art therapy was a career. When I was younger I would paint, draw, sew and do crafts mostly alone. This was a time I used to get away from bullying and other stressors in my life at that time. When I was thinking about a potential career path I knew I wanted to combine art with my passion for helping others and art therapy was the perfect way to do that. Saniya: What’s your go-to art material? Jeremy: Currently, my favorite material is digital art making portraits of people on the iPad. My go to art material changes because I enjoy learning new materials for example I’m currently learning how to use resin. Saniya: Abstract or realistic art? Why?
Jeremy: Both! When I make watercolor paintings I like to paint abstract images but for portrait art I try to keep it realistic. Saniya: When do you feel inspired to make art? Jeremy: I feel inspired to make art when I have a new idea, an opportunity to collaborate with a fellow creative, or when I’m learning a new material like resin or jewelry making. Another way I find inspiration is from visiting museums, reading about artists, and watching tons of documentaries and art project how to videos on YouTube. Saniya: Do you have any nicknames? Jeremy: My nick name is Jer-Bear! Saniya: Have you been inspired to create art based on recent events in the world? Jeremy: Yes, I’m currently working on a portrait project centered around a NY musician who is fighting for Trans rights!
Artwork by Anonymous
Power and Fear Savannah Wright, 18 Power is indescribable, Yet visual Power is harmful, Yet reusable Power is strong, Yet weakness Fear is an exclamation point, Shouting from inside you Fear is a warning, Telling you to stop or to keep moving Fear is defeatable, Allowing you to overcome what’s holding you back We feel power, We feel fear, Though we like to settle in the arms of fear Because power is too much to handle Fear only takes over your mind, your sleep, your habits, your feelings, and all in between Power only takes over who you are as A person and makes you… you. 27
Tuesday Tia Walker, 17
8:00 am: The sun melts over the city Its light is infectious It embraces the community Like the desert does a flood It paints a smile on my face Molds every one of my sentences into compliments It even saves a seat for my courage on the bus 2pm: The afternoon is mellow Gentrification arrives holding hands with large factories, And my smile fades along with the city skyline My courage left an hour ago But the traffic that surrounds me hasn’t changed My boredom starts to trend in the same direction as the crime rate And as I sit on a bench alone I allow my thoughts to wander To roam the bold, boisterous, busy, city streets And assimilate until I don’t recognize them anymore
Air pollution slowly lowers my eyelids But it’s so difficult to sleep with litter, overcrowding, and homelessness staring me in the face 5 pm: Gray imposes itself upon the sky: early and uninvited The air is bitter and unwelcoming I gather the remnants of my happiness and begin to walk I stroll through wealthy neighborhoods Areas where casual racism rests between cracks in the sidewalk Where upscale restaurants have been serving microaggressions for decades Through the fog I manage to only see wide eyes and clutched purses And I realize I’ve gone too far
Photograph by Marian Cepeda, 20
8pm: The bus home is crowded and cold The sky is now a stranger Humming an ominous tune There is an uncomfortable blanket of silence That is having a deafening effect on my mood The sky begins to rain on innocent civilians And washes the smile right off my face 29
Artwork by Kayla Griffith, 12
Paradise Edwin Mendez, 18
Waking up to a world where differences won’t be seen Exclusion won’t be seen Neither would one’s selfish pride be a scene As everybody sees each other equally the same. A humble society where everyone treats each other with respect, with a kind greeting, knowing they can trust one another without any fear of being criticized. Living day to day to create fun memories with the different cultures around, seeing no judgment of color or opinion, A bond inseparable between one another, driving the mentality to support, and prosper together. What a paradise it would be.
Eyes Up Here Jordan Lubinsky, 15
Skinny. But not too skinny. Pretty but attainable. I love makeup. No, I like her natural. Curly, straight, and wavy. We are not customizable. We are human. I like smart girls. Well I like them to be innocent. She needs to be experienced. Your body count is high? Slut. We are humans. We are not dolls that you can customize. Eyes down. Cover up. Boys will be boys. You can’t blame them. You showed too much skin. You can’t say yes and then no. You said no, oh, well boys will be boys. You can’t blame them. News headlines of another girl taken advantage of. Will I be the next one? I ’m not an object, I am a human, just like you. Why can’t you see that?!? We are taught to be careful. Boys aren’t taught to respect us. We are blamed. They are applauded and praised. Young girls paid off by “the big guys” to keep quiet. You cannot buy us. We are women and we are not objects. We will not be silenced. 32
Artwork by Kaylynn Jayme, 14 33
Artwork by Kimberly Ho, 14
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Original Music by Kevin Vasquez, 21
We Are Proud Jasmeen Kaur, 21 We are proud, Of who we are And where we come from. We are proud, Of finding a place For our families to flourish in and live in harmony. We are proud, Of our differences Whether it’s our race, ethnicity, culture or traditions. We are proud, To be minority groups Which shows the struggles we have faced and how far we have come. We are proud, To stand united in such a beautiful diverse community When the world wants to divide us for folly reasons. We are proud, To be human And to love each other for our humanity. Yet, when looking at reality,
Have we truly come far enough? Have we truly accepted each other for who we are? Have we fully left the prejudice and stereotypical thoughts behind? Have we learned to accept love and deny hate? Are we truly proud of where we stand currently in the world? We are slowly but surely getting to where we want to be. We need to accept and love our differences, Which makes each individual special and unique. To love others, we must also learn how to love ourselves first To be proud of our individuality and differences. Leave behind the prejudices and discrimination and take upon our humanity and equality. Be proud of your history
Liste n to J her p asmeen re oem here ad !
Be proud of your culture Be proud of your ancestors Be proud of the color of your skin Be proud of your traditions Be proud of your strength Be proud of your courage Be proud period! Only then can we truly say that,
We are proud. Now say it out loud, WE ARE PROUD!
Artwork by Genesis Lewis, 12
most mistreatment and I want that to change.”
—Savannah Wright, Guest Teen Editor xxxviii
Artwork by Fernando Velez, 20
“Out of all people of color, black people have been given the
Published on Feb 16, 2021